Your body is constantly working hard to perform at its peak level during the tough workouts you push through. While working out is some of the best form of medicine that you can give your body, what you do for it while you are not working out can be just as, if not more, important.
High intensity and lengthy workouts tear down muscles and exhaust your body’s fluids, making recovery time essential. Here are four beneficial tips and tricks that you can practice to recover quickly and to ensure that you don’t lose any progress you worked so hard to gain in the gym.
- Drink up! Many people may underestimate the importance of proper hydration. And no, Gatorade or PowerAde does not count as appropriate hydration. Your body is 98% water, and is critical to the balance of all of the body’s systems. Not only does hydration prevents soreness but it is also a way of replacing all fluid lost during the workout. Most nutrition experts recommend drinking 9oz of water for every half an hour of exercise.
- Nutrition, obviously. Nutrition is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle, but what you eat immediately after working out can elevate your overall performance and the rate at which your muscles recover. The best after snack workout is a light, healthy combination of protein and carbs. A protein smoothie or a piece of fruit with some type of nut butter should do the trick.
- Stretching and active recovery. A simple and fast way to loosen up is to stretch both before and after a workout. Too often people forego stretching before a workout, which leads to tightening of muscles during the actual workout. Try foam rolling after your workout to improve circulation and break down tissue. Active recovery is also beneficial as it promotes a low-intensity workout to get your blood flowing and muscles moving without increase in tearing or tiring of your body.
- Get your sleep and avoid overtraining. Sleep really does do amazing things for your body. During sleep your body produces a Growth Hormone, which aids in tissue growth and repair. Another common mistakes athletes make is overtraining. Your body can only perform at top level for so long before over excessive exercise will limit your fitness gains and undermine your recovery efforts. The most important thing you can do is to listen to your body. So if you are feeling tired or begin to notice decreased performance, take a break. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.